Toronto – In a precedent-setting decision, the Niagara Escarpment Commission voted to process Protecting Escarpment Rural Land’s (PERL) private amendment application for the Nelson Aggregate Co. proposed quarry site that, if approved, would see a significant part of the Mount Nemo Plateau, on the Niagara Escarpment in Burlington, Ontario, permanently protected.
“The decision to process PERL’s application will allow the proper level of environmental protection to be decided ahead of, or at the same time as, the Nelson Aggregate Co. quarry application, in accordance with the precautionary approach,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence.
PERL hopes to obtain a re-designation of the provincially-protected Jefferson Salamander habitat, regionally significant woodland, Provincially Significant wetlands and Halton Region Natural Heritage System to Escarpment “Protection” and “Natural” on the site, both of which prohibit mineral extraction.
Burlington Mayor and Halton Regional Councillor, Cam Jackson, presented two unanimous Council resolutions supporting PERL’s application as a “first step” to protecting the entire Mount Nemo Plateau.
Commissioner Alan Elgar tabled the motion and affirmed, “It is our job to implement the NEPDA [Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act], and its purpose is to ‘maintain the Niagara Escarpment substantially as a continuous natural environment’.”  After the vote, Elgar announced, “This is a precedent-setting decision and it is the right one. It says: the NEC will process applications in accordance with the Act that are in keeping with its purposes.”
“We could not be more impressed with the Commission,” stated Roger Goulet, Executive Director of PERL. “We must get the land-use designations right before decisions are made on development applications. This is what we have been saying for years.”
Many environmentally sensitive areas within the Niagara Escarpment Plan area would be protected by today’s standards and science but are left vulnerable to development by the 25-year-old Niagara Escarpment Plan designations.
“Right now the process is upside-down,” commented Lia Magi, a lawyer with Donnelly Law representing PERL. “Bringing a third-party application was the only way to put the proper land-use designation, based on the most current science, squarely in front of a decision-maker while it is still relevant,” Magi added.

About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research solutions. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, clean water and thriving ecosystems nationwide, and to bring a halt to Canada’s contribution to climate change.
-30-
For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Lia Magi, Donnelly Law, 647-654-2049, lia@donnellylaw.ca
Roger Goulet, Executive Director, PERL, 905-335-4219, rgoulet@cogeco.ca